BYU's newspaper, the Daily Universe, took the first-place general excellence award in the National Newspaper Association’s 2018 Better Newspaper Contest. The Universe received nine other national awards and 17 state awards in journalism.
Additionally, journalism associate teaching professor Joel Campbell received the Utah Society of Professional Journalists' Service to Journalism Award.
Universe director Steve Fidel said the awards show the laboratory news organization is living up to BYU President Kevin J Worthen's experiential learning initiative.
"Putting classroom instruction to work in the newsroom is when it becomes real," Fidel said. "It's not just grammar or how to write a good lead, but we are producing a commercial product."
The newspaper is almost entirely student-run and is supported largely by its own advertising revenue. In additional to its awards, the Universe has been making strides in the digital sphere.
The Universe recently launched a new augmented reality (AR) feature on various stories in its print editions. Fidel said The Universe 's AR feature is a new feature to newspapers, especially student papers, and makes the lab experience more beneficial for students who want to be at the top of current news technologies.
Stories with the Universe Plus app icon in the bottom right-hand corner of a story's photo can be scanned in the app and will link the reader’s phone to additional content, such as photo slideshows and language translations of articles.
Universe newsroom manager Carrie Moore said in addition to teaching new technologies, there is a push more than ever for honest reporting.
"The level of work we are trying to get students to do rises to the level of what they would be doing professionally," Moore said. "It gives them an intense experience, and when they come out of it and look back they can say, 'Wow. We did that.'"